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Thoughts on 2015 NBA Draft
06.27.15

1. Towns to T-Wolves
My favorite player in the draft. Does everything well. Excellent motor. Plays hard on both ends of the court. 

2. Russell to Lakers
This was very interesting and late movement on the part of Russell. Obviously folks had thought Okafor to the Lakers was the likely pick. However, it seems like the Lakers are increasingly confident that they'll be able to get LaMarcus Aldridge or maybe Kevin Love in free agency. Jay Bilas calls Russell a "savant" which is frankly a term that I'm not sure I've ever heard him use to describe a basketball player. Russell's offensive talent is undeniable. He's a very good shooter and an excellent passer. Check out one of his passes here. [link] Folks have literally compared him to Magic Johnson -- a comp that I'm not sure I've ever heard used either. My big concern on Russell is his defense and perhaps his sometimes lackadaisical attitude. That stuff is a little difficult to project though -- it depends a lot on the program he was in, the coaching, and his response to it. He'll need to get better at both of them -- but they're eminently fixable. 

Larry Brown on "Mike & Mike" was adament that the best point guard in the draft was Mudiay though (Brown recruited Mudiay to SMU) and tried to convince the Lakers to take him.

3. Okafor to Sixers
Jay Williams and Jay Bilas were both adament on the broadcast that Okafor was the better prospect over Towns. There's no doubt that Okafor on the offensive end is one of the most skilled big men I've ever seen coming out of college. He has an arsenal of moves -- extremely advanced. His defense and conditioning are problematic though. And he was playing for Coach K! I'm really not sure what to make of it. Similar to Russell -- eminently fixable. On the plus side, Ryen Russillo was raving at how good Okafor looked following his prep workouts with P3 -- so maybe he'll be operating at a higher level of conditioning and effort moving forward. 

4. Porzingas to the Knicks
The more I think about this pick, the more I love it. His talent is undeniable. Check out Grantland's set of mini-films "Who is Kristaps Porzingas?" particularly his pro day in episode 2 [link]. He's gigantic -- 7'1 1/4" in socks (according to Chad Ford). He can shoot. He moves really well. He did well putting on weight in the past year (even if he's still light). Supposedly in his pro day workouts, teams felt he was very competitive. He competed in one of the best non-NBA leagues in the world (ACB). I also think he's a particularly good fit for the triangle. I suspect he'll be ready contributing way sooner than people expect. However, expect growing pains. Durant and Garnett got beaten up their first couple of years in the league. 

The only other potential picks here (to me) were Mudiay and Winslow. Maybe Willie Cauley-Stein -- who I love, but I would've been a little wary over some concerns re: his mental makeup when there are so many other strong prospects without that concern. Porzingas' ceiling is super high though. I think both Mudiay and Winslow have top-3 caliber talent though and would've been happy with either of them.

I thought it was interesting that Kaminsky to the Knicks was mentioned frequently. I like Kaminsky a lot. I think he's a highly skilled big man who can shoot with a super high basketball IQ. I also think he would've been an excellent fit in the triangle -- which would've been interesting to see as I don't remember a center in the Bulls years with that type of skill set / range as Kaminsky.

5. Hezonja to the Magic
Chad Ford says his comp is J.R. Smith. That scares the living daylights out of me. But his tape is good. I'd be surprised if he was a bust.

6. WCS to the Kings
WCS is a freak athlete. Freak. He's a terrific on the ball defender and a terrific help defender. His offense is near non-existent. That being said, I think he could work it so that he scores 6-12 points a game. Which isn't a lot, but I think he could give you something through lobs, maybe an occasional mid-range J, etc. But what he brings to the defensive end is world class. Defensive player of the year type ceiling.

7. Mudiay to the Nuggets
Every draft, someone drops. In this case, multiple players dropped. Mudiay to the Nuggets at #7 is awesome for them. He's strong, explosive, can shoot (though it needs work) and plays a traditional point (i.e. likes to pass the ball.) Some have comp'ed him to Westbrook -- in some ways, I actually like him more than Westbrook. I don't think he'll be as good of a scorer as Westbrook or possess the same level of explosiveness, but Mudiay seems a more willing and natural passer. I love this pick. I'm a big Ty Lawson fan, but if they're moving on from him, I think Mudiay could be a star. 

8. Stanley Johnson to the Pistons
They drafted a SF and they didn't draft Justise Winslow? Chad Ford said that between Winslow + Johnson, it's 70/30 in favor of Winslow from scouts. However, the 30% who prefer Johnson are adament about Johnson. Johnson looks good on tape, I'm not denying that. But Winslow is phenomenal competitior. We saw it in individual games and his overall improvement as the year progressed. 

9. Kaminsky to the Bobcats
Supposedly Danny Ainge offered 6 picks for this pick -- 4 1st round picks and 2 2nd round picks and I believe one of the 1st round picks was one of Brooklyn's unprotected 1st round picks. That's a stunning offer. And apparently everyone turned him down (it sounded like he was calling with variants of this offer starting at #4 and team after team turned him down.) If I was the Knicks + Nuggets, I would keep my pick because that's a top-3 level talent you're getting. But everyone else? Wow. That's stunning.

Here's my big complaint about the Bobcats. Every team that's reasonably in competition for the title has top talent among their best players. Who is Charlotte's best players? MKG? Jefferson? Charlotte has a lot of good players and I have no doubt that Kaminsky will be a good player for him. But to pass on Winslow or the bevy of picks for him? I don't know. That's a tough one for me.

10. Winslow to the Heat
What a haul. No further comment needed.

11. Myles Turner to the Pacers
Huge upside pick. Love this selection -- Turner may be a few years away, but his ceiling is super high and I think Bird realizes he needs more top shelf talent. The only guy he really has in the range is Paul George. Note how well the Pacers did when Roy Hibbert, on the defensive end, was in that range.

19. Jerian Grant to the Knicks (via trade)
I like this pick b/c Grant is a high IQ player who does everything well. Perfect fit for Phil and the triangle.

28. R.J. Hunter to the Celtics
Poor Danny Ainge. He did everything right (offering a ton to try and get Winslow) -- at least R.J. Hunter fell to him here. A great competitor and potentially a great shooter. High basketball IQ / son of a coach. I was surprised he slid this far especially assuming the added premium teams would place on shooting. I think Hunter has very high upside.

30. Kevon Looney to the Warriors
Presumably slid b/c of injury concerns. The Warriors can take this risk and potentially add a top-10 level talent that they can stash for a little while.

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